Although initially the Libyan Jird was more popular, around a decade ago Shaws Jirds were found to be a more handleable and easier pet to keep. They look very similar to Mongolian Gerbils but are closer to the size of a rat, with an adult male reaching up to 14 inches in length, half of which is their long elegant tail. They have a sandy base coat that is usually quite dark but can come in lighter shades and occasionally with a white head spot. They have larger, less hairy ears than a Mongolian gerbil.
Although they are sociable animals problems can occur with keeping female Shaws jirds together so it is advisable to keep females alone.
They are omnivorous and benefit from a varied diet that is predominately based on seeds and grains. They should also be given fresh fruit and vegetables and some meat on a semi-regular basis. Tinned cat food or mealworms can be used for this.